A fragrant mist forces itself out between the arches in the passage under Regensen, the student residence at the Round Tower on Købmagergade. The mist hangs in the air about a metre above the ground, fills the whole passage, swallows those who move into it and disturbs the otherwise busy traffic on the pedestrian street. In traditional Chinese culture Qi, which directly translated means spirit, air or steam, but can also be described as vital force or energy, is what keeps every living thing alive. Following an eight-month research trip to Tibet, Yuan Gong has taken on Qi as a metaphor for human existence and devoted his work to investigating and expressing this symbol of life and death. It is an important point for Yuan Gong that the cosmic spirit cannot be captured statically or visually but must be experienced with all the senses and in all its dynamism. Installed in the historical context, the fleeting poetical sculpture leads the thoughts also to a mysterious, steaming Copenhagen, where there is something in the wind, there is a ground mist, concealed events and alchemistic transformations are hidden in cellars, recesses and behind locked doors, at the same time as on the more universal level it refers to the haze, clouds, heavens and freedom of the salt of the earth.
Yuan Gong lives and works in Beijing. Yuan Gong works with sculpture, drawing and installation but is primarily known for a series of works, where a scented fog fills the space, surrounding the spectator. In the past Gong has presented his works, among other places, at the Tina B festival in Prag, with the work Fly Release (2010), and at the Venice Biennale in 2009, with the work Empty Incense.
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